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fear

3 Signs That You're Letting Fear Take Over Your Life

    3 Signs You’re Letting Fear Take Over

 

    Fear is a natural emotion that pervades every aspect of our lives. It has been vital to the evolution that mankind has made, and continue to make, as a species. Without it, people all would have been eaten, poisoned, or crushed to the point of extinction long ago - very likely before we had the chance to walk upright. Fear gets a bad wrap sometimes, but that’s because too often it takes over; the same guy who feared the tigers still needed to get out of his cave to hunt, or he would have starved to death.

 

    We find that our lives are a delicate balance between real fears that present valid consequences, and unfounded fears based purely on the ego’s attempts to limit our potential. Weighing whether any particular fear presents actual or imagined repercussions is a task we address on a daily - and hourly - basis.

 

    Here are three signs that you’re letting fear start to run things, instead of using it as the valuable tool that it can be :

 

  1. You can’t sit still - When you find yourself unable to sit quietly and peacefully - provided it’s not because you are swamped at work or home alone with three young kids - ask yourself what is driving your restless behavior. Your body moves in response to your mind. If your mind is obsessing over a few  - or many - problems, ask yourself - can you solve any of these problems right here and right now? If not, can you put the problem(s) aside until the opportunity arises for you to address it/them? Like unwanted baggage, put down the worries that you have no control over until such time that you do.

  2. You can’t be alone - When your mind is racing, you feel like you are your own worst enemy and your own worst company. Craving the company of others to distract you from yourself is a sure sign that fear is chasing you. It has you going around and around in your own head, a domain that is your sovereign territory. But through the company of others, you can pretend the turmoil in your mind does not exist, at least for awhile. Additionally, if a calm exterior can fool others into believing that you have it all together, you can sometimes convince yourself of the same thing.

  3. You actively seek distractions - Distractions from yourself can also come in the form of activities. When these activities begin to take over, they can become even more important than the avoidance of self that originally enticed you. At this point, you likely have developed an addictive behavior. Regardless of this possibility, the active avoidance of self causes you to miss out on the really wonderful things that life has to offer.

 

    At Love and Addicts, we have seen fear drive people to addictive behaviors. And we have seen people who are in recovery from one addiction be driven by fear into another kind of addiction. It is a process to step back enough to have an awareness about the fear that is running your life. As we come to realize how much it is holding us back we begin to search for other ways to live, knowing that how we are living now is exhausting. This transitional process can be so liberating when we begin to find relief, peace and more deep breaths in our everyday lives.

 

     We know that learning to live with fear while still stepping through it is a challenge. If this is something you face and want see if we can help you can reach us by email at hello@loveandaddicts.com to set up a free 30 minute couples in recovery consult. The challenges with fear rearing its ugly head can seem insurmountable, but when you use love and the strength within, nothing is impossible.

 

Get Your Feet Wet

There is a reason the beach is used in so many analogies about life. It’s warm and dry, and it’s frequently sunny. There is fun to be had, people to hang out with, and, unless you’re a lifeguard, very little responsibility. We love the beach, or at least we love the idea of what the beach represents - no worries, no cares. Life is easy on the beach. And this is the very reason it’s so important to get off of it occasionally. 

    A little while back I wrote about the joys of spending time in your comfort zone and the importance of appreciating that zone, rather than feeling you ought not to spend any time there at all. But too much time spent in a place of ease or routine can breed complacency. And complacency breeds boredom. Addicts in recovery do not always fare well under the placid acceptance of boring daily routine. 

    There is a law of physics that states “an object at rest tends to stay at rest.” This is true of humans as well, in the sense that a lack of active engagement with life, when practiced consistently and over a period of time, becomes difficult to change. In other words, sitting on your ass and letting life pass you by can be habit-forming. 

    Getting involved in something - anything - other than the predictable day-to-day pattern does not have to be a huge undertaking, nor does it have to be frightening, although the definition of both is completely arbitrary, and will vary greatly from person to person. The most common factor in determining how difficult it will be to break routine is to ask yourself how long you have been going through the motions - or avoiding any movement at all. Not surprisingly, the longer a person has been following a safe pattern, the harder it will be to get out of it. 
    
    This means it is probably in your best interest to start today. 
    
    Change can be tiny at first, and the little ones can sometimes be the most interesting. Wear a button-down when you usually wear a T-shirt. Or vice-versa. Try driving a different way to work, or stop at a different gas station. Try going to a different meeting, or investigate some spiritually based literature instead of repeating your step work. Again. 
    
    If you are surrounded by people who live in a similar fashion, and who are also creatures of habit, there may be the added difficulty of breaking away from the crowd. Misery loves company, and is frequently camouflaged by conformity. Life’s limitless possibilities can get obscured behind the people around you, especially if they're doing the same boring shit you are. You may not be able to see or even imagine that there are alternatives, and you may experience great resistance from the others who are offended that you would even contemplate such possibilities. 

    I’m not suggesting you quit your job so you can dance in the chorus line on Broadway. I’m not suggesting you leave your spouse of 20 years. I’m not suggesting you start skydiving. Although any of these might be exactly what would get you off the beach of banality and into the ocean of enterprise and creativity, each solution is extreme and some consideration of consequences would be in order before you stepped in and possibly drowned. But the thing to remember is that “drowning” is an extremely unlikely result of augmenting change in your life. It is more likely that you will get cut on the coral or a big wave will knock you off your feet and you will get your wind knocked out. 

    On the other hand, maybe you'll hop on a surfboard and have the ride of your life...

    When trying to get out of a rut, tangible results are not nearly as important as the unpredictable by-product of growth. Cuts heal and embarrassment fades, but lessons and experiences last a lifetime. Try to remember that there is no failure in unexpected results, only the opportunity grow from the experience and maybe do it differently the next time. 

    It is not in your best interests to let life pass you by, rather, you want to actively travel along the path of your creation. If you fall, get back up. If you land in shit, take a shower. If you slam into an oak tree, bandage your wounds and go around it. If you find yourself strolling through a field of roses, enjoy the view and the aroma...but watch out for the thorns. 

    The point of living is not to avoid hardship, nor is it to seek perfection. The point is to move, to experience, to participate. We fear the demons that may drag us down, and certainly some people, places, and things are best left alone. But why get scared into paralysis? Where is the joy in existing in a “safe” room with padded walls, no windows, and no way out (and no way for new people or ideas to get in)

    If you were in chaos when you were participating in addictive behaviors, you may cherish the peace and quiet that comes with sobriety. This is not only understandable, it is commendable. We get as caught up in the maelstrom that results from bad ideas, actions, and consequences as we do in our addictive pursuit to avoid life and ourselves. The mess we create can become, in its familiarity, the only life we can imagine. When things calm down a bit, it's like heaven has descended upon us, and we cling to it vehemently. But once the dust has settled and the damage has been assessed, it's time to start healing. 

    Never assume a life without any risk is a life that is rich in rewards. Never confuse banality with serenity. 

        It's time to start living.